MICRO-TOX: Unravelling the in vitro toxic effects of the mycotoxin beauvericin, bacterial toxin cereulide and cyanobacterial microcystins, and their interactions with co-exposed microplastics

01 October 2020 → 30 September 2023
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Analysis of next-generation sequence data
    • Metabolomics
    • Transcriptomics
    • Systems biology not elsewhere classified
cytotoxicity microplastics natural toxins
Project description

Over the lifetime, humans are exposed to an infinite number of toxic chemical contaminants present in the foods and environment. In the past, researchers were focusing on single or a group of similar toxins in order to understand their harm on the body. However, this does not reflect the toxic effects of the real co-exposure to several food and environmental contaminants on the body. Currently, the effects of exposure to a complex mixture of toxic chemicals is a hot research topic and a priority for risk assessment strategies in the European Food Safety Authority. The current project aims to implement the state-of-the-art omics approaches with cytotoxicity assays to understand the toxic outcomes of chemical mixtures. The main hypothesis of the project is that the toxicity outcomes can be altered by synergism or antagonism in case of co-exposure to multiple contaminants. This project consists of three work packages: the combined toxic effect of a mixture of emerging bacterial, cyanobacterial and fungal toxins, the effect of microplastics, and the interaction between four selected contaminants. These contaminants have gained much interest in the recent years due to increased reported prevalence, co-existence in different foods, in potential relation to climate change, and multifaceted toxicity towards humans. The project outcomes will be of importance to understand the toxicity at the level of intestinal and liver toxicological endpoints.